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The invisible

Dear Editor,

What do these numbers mean to you 6-8, 10-12, 14-16, and 5, 6X, 7-8, 10-12?

Go shopping at the local grocery store. Order a meal. Purchase the latest fashions at a nice store. Go about your normal life. There are no people living in poverty. Drive by a food pantry or a homeless shelter, where a few people might be congregating outside. Or we see someone in ragged clothes shuffling around town.

So there’s a few people living in poverty, but not many, not enough to make an impression on our day. Right?

More than 1 in every 8 Americans live below the poverty level, over 40 million Americans. The greeter at the local big box store, the young person taking a food order, the shopper looking for day-old bread – they might all be poor. More than 1% of Americans, that’s over 4 million people, live on less than $1.90 a day. Most poor young Americans, aged 19-22 and in the bottom 20% of incomes, are not in college. And many young people under the age of 18 go without adequate clothing and nourishment in silence.

We just don’t know they are poor. They are invisible to most of us. We don’t know about their struggles to put food on the table for their families, about how health problems are caused by poverty. We just don’t know about having to choose between paying rent, getting health insurance, or putting food on the table.

Adding to their invisibility, the poor are more concentrated in rural America than in cities. One-quarter of rural American children live in poverty. Poverty is an inherent part of the American economic system. The reasons for poverty vary, some are poor personal choices, addictions and others are due to poor health, or circumstances that happen and are out of a person’s control.

We have poverty here. We only need to be aware and see.

Warren and Warren County have many fine resources to help those in poverty. One that I am fond of is Help Our Children associated with WAEC. This group supports the young people of Warren and Warren County who are in need. This is a worthy group that deserves our support.

Help Our Children is in need of Boys 6-8, 10-12, 14-16, and Girls 5, 6X, 7-8, 10-12 winter coats. We may not be able to put an end to poverty…but we can help comfort, we can help carry part of the burden of poverty.

Won’t you consider helping those that are invisible to most of us?

Forward together,

Doug Hearn,

Warren

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